Arguably one of the most popular climbs on Gran Canaria, its easy access from the major resorts along the South Coast stretching from Maspalomas to Puerto Rico aswell as the challenge and charm of the climb itself make this ascent a magnet for cyclists. Taken as a stand alone ride or used as a gateway climb to the West coast and central parts of the island, Soria is without doubt one of our favourite climbs on the island. The climb proper is around 5km, however if you add in the valley road beforehand and depending on where you finish, the climb to the Barranquillo Andrés summit at 650m is around 19.5km. As with a few places on the island, the name references can be a bit confusing. As the summit proper of this climb is known as Barranquillo Andrés, the town of Soria and popular rest stop is 3.5km beyond this point. You can expect to take anywhere from 20-45 minutes for the main climb, with exceptions either side depending on your fitness level.
The Valley Start - 0km to 14km +250m From whichever direction you are coming from, the full climb starts at Kilometer Zero on the GC-505. You’re met with a 14km valley road of mostly false flat besides a few short kicks to heat the legs up before Soria starts proper. In this section you’ll gain around 250m elevation and if you’re a rider who likes to keep track of the distance, the GC-505 kilometer markers count up nicely. Gran Canaria has no cycling distance markers like some of the major European climbs, personally, I like to know how far I have to go. The wind in the valley is a funny one, don’t be surprised if the headwind turns to a tailwind, that’s normal, even if confusing. There’s a little refreshment hotspot at the Supermarket in El Horno which welcomes riders for a pre and post climb top up, there’s also the cafe El Maso 50m off the main road to the right at Cercados Espino which we highly recommend for the seasonal mango desserts.
After 14kms in the valley it’s easy to know when the climb starts, apart from the misleading hand painted ‘start strava’ on the road (ignore this - the segment actually starts at the Las Fillipinas sign), the gradient rises significantly and it will stay there until you get to around 19.5km. The official Soria sign references 9km (this is to the restaurant 3.5km beyond the summit) but the meat of the climb itself and for those interested the ‘Soria Official’ Strava segment finishes shortly after the summit sign and the scarecrow after 5km, more specifically - the trash bins 😉 Ignore the ‘stop strava’ painted on the road keep pushing for a few more metres if you’re testing your metal.
These 5kms are tough but quite stunning, the early kilometres rise from the valley carving through dramatic ocre coloured rocks, these first 2km are generally considered the toughest but rewarding in equal measure as you start to see the beautiful road weaving away below you, the gradient here hangs at around 9%. The entire road was re-surfaced in recent years so you can enjoy glass like tarmac all the way to the summit. 17km to 18km wind you through leafy green orange groves, and bizarrely a peacock farm, the birds are more often seen roadside in the evenings when the farmers let them freeroam, always one to watch out for on late afternoon descents. The entertainment ceratinly doesn’t stop, switchbacks keep you on your toes and a 15% kicker just after the 18km to go sign marks the last really hard section. From here it’s a much easier 1.5km to the summit, where you now decide what your legs can handle, recover and enjoy or go all out for the glory 😉
Once you reach the Barranquillo Andrés sign, you have a few choices. 50 metres further along you’ll find the popular small Viveres Hernandez supermarket (open from 09:00-14:30 & 17:30-20:30), or take the undulating 3.5km to Soria for something more substantial at the popular restaurante Casa Fernando. In addition, here you’ll find the supermarket Marta and Panaderia Artesana. If you’re looking for some bonus kilometres and more fabulous views, continue until the road runs out (approx 1.5km) to the now dried up Cascada de Soria view point.
If you’re ready for more climbing, then you want the Carretera El Pinar, the sharp, steep rough as all hell looking road towards the GC-605 Tejeda/Mogán, San Bartolomé and Presa Las Niñas just after the summit. It starts with a fabulous kicker, hold out though, it eases off - eventually. The ‘cyclists stop here’ sign is mostly ignored, as since the road to Mogan is still closed (as of June 2020) this is a well used route for those looking to do the Valley of The Tears the hard way and Mogán. It’s also a very popular route used to get to Ayacata or on to Tejeda. The road itself is around 3km before you get to the junction of the GC-605.